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Adjunctive Yoga Tied to Improvements in Adults With Schizophrenia

Key clinical point: Yoga, in addition to conventional psychiatric care, improved psychopathology, distress, and quality of life in adults with schizophrenia.

Major finding: After 3 months, schizophrenia patients who participated in yoga plus usual care showed significant improvements from baseline in symptoms, including lower total positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS) scores, compared with patients who underwent usual care without yoga (95.5 vs. 101.1).

Study details: The data come from a randomized trial of 30 adults with schizophrenia in treatment at t rehabilitation clinic in Italy.

Disclosures: The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

Citation:

Caponnetto P et al. Mental Illness. 2019. doi: 10.4081/mi.2019.8003.

Commentary:

Current standard pharmacological and behavioral treatments for schizophrenia can reduce symptoms of psychosis and improve functional status, but are limited by drug-related side effects and incomplete efficacy for many patients. Complementary mind-body treatments, such as yoga, are growing in popularity in the general population, but have not been adequately studied among patients with schizophrenia. This pilot study showed that once-weekly yoga plus standard care was associated with improvements in quality of life, selected stress biomarkers, schizophrenia symptoms, and adaptive functioning. While this study is limited by small sample size and an exploratory design, the positive preliminary findings support the need for additional investigation into a care approach that features training in body postures, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation.—Martha Sajatovic, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Neurology; Willard Brown Chair in Neurological Outcomes Research; Director, Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.